Muscat: – Oman plans to establish its first budget airline to boost tourism as the plunge in global oil prices encourages the country to diversify its economy beyond oil and gas production.
Muscat National Development and Investment Co (MNDIC) – a venture involving the Muscat municipal government and several state funds including the State General Reserve Fund, Oman’s top sovereign wealth fund – said it had been awarded an air services operator licence by the Public Authority for Civil Aviation.
The airline will help meet Oman’s strong air traffic demand, expected to grow 40 percent by 2019, and complement its real estate and entertainment projects, MNDIC’s chief executive Khalid bin Hilal al-Yahmadi said in a statement seen on Thursday.
He did not reveal a time frame for establishing the airline or describe its plans to obtain planes.
Late October, the government approved a restructuring of the country’s flag carrier, loss-making Oman Air, including the creation of subsidiaries and ventures to handle some businesses. That carrier has a fleet of about 37 planes.